If there’s one thing we know about sports fans, it’s that above all else they tend to like competition. Of course, fans have loyalty — sometimes built up over generations — to certain players, teams, or leagues. But competition is often the main draw.
This has been made particularly clear lately. We wrote in March about how sports fans are coping in a time when leagues are temporarily shut down, and highlighted things like marble races and board games as alternative activities. And in recent weeks, significant audiences have tuned in to watch things like NBA players playing remote H-O-R-S-E, or golf stars playing a charity event, in the rain, with famous NFL quarterbacks. This is not to say that any of these activities completely make up for the lack of sports — but they do help fans to scratch that competitive itch.
As just such a fan who sorely misses sports, I’ve been looking to fill the time with casual sports video games. From apps to old flash games, there are a lot of fun experiences out there. They’re games that don’t take up too much time, but which can put you back into the world of sports, usually with a nice blend of competition and general amusement. In seeking out these kinds of experiences though, one category of games stood out to me: online casino arcades.
This category is one that’s only just beginning to be appreciated by American gamers. Thanks to New Jersey’s busy online casino scene though, it’s at least relatively accessible. Whether or not you play for real money (which you can only legally do in certain states), you can get the feel for a variety of casino gaming providers that are now thriving in New Jersey. Most of them offer a number of different types of games, but by and large, they highlight the arcade-style slots that dominate the category worldwide. These slots all have the same fundamental gameplay, but each one showcases its own subject matter — and plenty of them actually focus on sports.
These games include titles like “Let’s Soccer,” “Scudamore’s Super Stakes,” “Jagr’s Super Slot,” “Top Strike Championship,” “Champion Raceway,” and more. They cover a range of sports, and in some cases work in mini-games through which people can play out certain, small aspects of sports (as opposed to just spinning slot reels). They’re a lot of fun and make for some nice variety in a genre filled with hundreds of games. Looking through them though, I couldn’t help wondering: Couldn’t online casinos go a few steps further to introduce popular sports games? Might they not be able to really attract sports fans looking for something to do?
Here’s a bit more about what I have in mind….
Virtual Sports With Management
Alongside some of the arcade games, I just listed above, some casino sites in New Jersey also have virtual sports competitions. These are essentially fake, lightly animated contests that people can bet on as if they’re real sporting events. It’s a fun idea, but it would be fascinating to see developers add an element of management to these games. Many of the aforementioned mobile sports games people enjoy essentially come down to managing rosters, coaching strategies, etc. Allowing casino gamers to do these things before a virtual simulation is played out would add a small element of strategy to what would ultimately be a game of chance. Naturally, it would be all the more fun if the games used real player rosters from professional leagues, though this would undoubtedly be a challenge from a licensing standpoint.
Resurrections Of Retro Games
Speaking of licensing concerns, this is probably a long shot too. But there are lots of popular retro sports games that are effectively out of circulation right now. If even a few of them were resurrected as casino games — arcades that players could wager against one another on — they’d likely be hits. From WWF WrestleFest, to NBA Jam, to Backyard Baseball, there are a lot of titles that a lot of people would love to see brought back in a new format.
Games Of Chance With Choice
I mentioned some of the mini-games built into some sports-related slot arcades, and they tend to revolve around tasks like taking a penalty kick in a soccer game. What would be interesting would be to see expanded games of this nature in which players could make choices, but results could still be determined by chance. For instance, a person could choose where to aim a penalty kick, with a lower probability of scoring but a higher reward for certain spots. Similarly, a player could be given a certain amount of time to score 20 points on an animated basketball court, clicking on spots to shoot from with a lower probability of scoring from a longer distance. Little games like this would be easy to design, could easily involve betting components, and would appeal to a great many sports fans.
I don’t know if we’ll see games like these squeeze into online casinos as they spread, presumably, to a broader U.S. market. But if we do, then online casinos are going to become a lot more attractive to millions of sports fans.